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Next Destination Baltimore

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 5/3/2010 5:41:19 PM

With the Derby in the books and with those that were left standing heading to the Preakness, there are a couple of things to know about the second jewel staged in Baltimore.

First, the Derby was an absolute scramble from the time the posts were drawn until Borel unleashed Super Saver. The betting was so totally not what was expected by many and it just goes to show, the fans that actually put their money on the line and make the final odds do a pretty solid job on a daily basis.

It doesn’t appear Super Saver is scaring anybody away after posting his 104 Beyer in Louisville as a full field is in prospect for the Preakness. John Sadler is taking his medicine standing up and going back to Cali for Sidney’s Candy and Line of David and that’s smart because it is a long year.

But before we get to Pimlico thoughts, here’s a story that will soothe the wounds somewhat for those that did not cash in Louisville last weekend.

A strange thing happened a few years ago when Giacomo shocked the world in the Derby and we’re not talking about his $100 mutuel but a sidebar that happened in Phoenix.

The story of that day occurred at Turf Paradise in the lost and found department. It seems 16-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire Department, Chris Hertzog, was in for the ride of his life. Hertzog had a teller punch him out $50 worth of superfecta quick picks and $50 worth of trifecta quick picks for the Derby.

After being notified by the mutuel director that a winning superfecta ticket was sold from teller Brenda Reagan’s machine, she informed Hertzog that he had won.

Hertzog had already tossed his tickets away.

For 2 hours Hertzog and his friends went through garbage cans sorting through the rubbish, but no ticket was found. He went home thinking a fortune was lost. But over 24 hours later, Reagan noticed 2 tickets had fallen to the side of the mutuel machine and when she saw one was the superfecta winner, management got a hold of Hertzog right away. The elusive ticket was worth $864,253.

Paradise lost and found in one twisted finger of fate so there is light at the end of some tunnels.

As far as the Preakness goes, the race is run at a 16th of a mile shorter then the Derby but it was not always like that. It has been run at 7 different distances over the decades from a mile to a mile and a half. And it has not always been the 2nd leg in the Triple Crown.

Eleven times, the Preakness was run before the Derby, and 11 times the Belmont Stakes was run prior to the Preakness. And the Derby and Preakness was run on the same day twice. For about the last 75 years, the Derby, Preakness, Belmont has been carded in that sequence.

And before fans get ingrained with the talking heads screaming about how speed is king at Pimlico, learn from the quotes in the past from Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens.

Stevens minces no words when he says it is not accurate to perpetuate Pimlico as a "speed track.

"That’s a fallacy," says the jockey. "It’s like an old wives’ tale that Old Hilltop is a speed race track. Every year I’ve got to go through the same thing, that Pimlico is a speed race track. Basically, the horses run the exact same style at Baltimore as they do in the Kentucky Derby.

“It’s a not a speed-favoring race track. It’s a fair race track and I think if you get your horse positioned where it belongs, then you’ve got a shot. But people who go in there with the attitude that it’s a speed race track and try and change a horse’s style, they’re making a major mistake. You might as well stay home if think you’ve got to lay close and change a horse’s style. You’ve got no chance."

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